My 2nd Great Grandfather: Mathias Knaus
Know one in my family remembers what happened to Mathias. The oldest member on this side of my family is my great Aunt Mae. Mathias is her grandfather and she does not remember when he died, she is in her eighties. My Grandmother died in 2001 and I wish I started my family tree sooner!
Mathias is driving me crazy….here is my story:
My Mother went through her mother’s old stuff and found a mass card on Mary Knaus, Mathias’s wife, so the only thing I knew is when she died, 22 December 1942.
From the information my great Aunt sent me I knew Mathias was born in New Brunswick, NJ and was raised there, worked for a bottling company and owned a saloon. My great Aunt told me that most of her family was buried in St. Peters cemetery. I called the cemetery to see if he was buried there only to be told that they were not computerized, that all their information was on books and that without a death date it would be impossible to find out. I live in Florida so I decided to plan a trip to NJ. In January 2009, my Mother, Sister and I made a trip to St. Peter’s Cemetery. We were hoping to find Mathias and Mary’s headstone. I had Mary’s death date so I was hoping they were buried together.
When the “keeper of the books” looked Mary up (yes, they were old books, if there ever was a fire all of the records would be lost!) he told me that there were six people listed in the family plot. I was excited! I could not wait for him to tell me the names-- Andrew & Mary, Mathias & Mary and John and his wife, were buried there. He told me that Andrew & Mary were the parents and that John was the brother of Mathias. I was disappointed when he told me that there was no death date written down for Mathias. Trampling through the snow hoping the date would be on the tombstone, I was freezing…I am a Floridian. We finally found the tombstone but I was disappointed again. Only Andrew & Mary were inscribed on it. The ‘Keeper of the Book’s’ told us that it was a double head stone and there should have been names on the other side. There were no names. But on the bright side I now know who his parents were and now I have their birth and death dates!
When I returned home I wrote to the New Brunswick library for Mary’s obituary and they sent it to me. I was looking for a death date for Mathias but all it stated was that she was the wife of the late Mathias so, no luck there. I plugged in the information on Mathias’s parents on my online tree and did a search. Ancestry.com search engine pulled up an article on the Chronicles of New Brunswick New Jersey 1667-1931 and Mathias and his father are mentioned in the article! There was even a picture of Mathias (confirmed by my great Aunt Mae). I also found an article: A Retrospect of the Catholic Church of St. John the Baptist, New Brunswick as a souvenir of the 60th anniversary of the founding fathers 1865-1925. Mathias is mentioned as being in the church parish in October 30, 1910 as an active member. Then there is a picture of him and next to his picture is states deceased. The book was published November 8, 1925. Mathias had to of died between 1910 and 1920 because in the 1920 United States censes he is not listed with his family.
I have contacted the church with no luck. I even tried to find out what funeral homes he could have had his service in, no luck. I cannot write for a death certificate if I do not have a death date….he is driving me CRAZY! And I think I am driving my family crazy with my obsession on trying to find out what happened to him.
Suggestions will be appreciated